Half-term Happenings: A Figure-eight Amble

The Green – Woodwell – Gibraltar Farm – Jack Scout – Jenny Brown’s Point – Fleagarth Wood – Woodwell – The Lots – The Cove – Elmslack


On the Friday of half-term my mum and dad were travelling home. Later in the afternoon I got out for a walk, I suspect my brother was with me and possibly TBH, but, to be honest, I can’t really remember.

I do remember that this calf…


…had clearly only just been born.


The Bay, Humphrey Head, Grange and the distant Coniston Fells from Jack Scout.


Quicksand Pool.


Post-sunset sky from The Cove.

Half-term Happenings: A Figure-eight Amble

Half Term Happenings II


Back to mid-February, when we are ‘at home’ for the visit of numerous guests.


We’d been for a midday wander around Jenny Brown’s Point, when I don’t seem to have taken any photos at all, and were then out again, climbing Arnside Knott and then pausing at the Pepper Pot, on our way home, to watch the sunset.


Don’t be deceived by my brother’s shorts, the breeze had turned very cold, as you might expect in February.


I actually took quite a few more photos, mostly of people, but the camera has an HDR facility, which I forget to turn off. It’s great for landscapes, but makes people look like strange Frankenstein monsters.


The sun disappearing behind Humphrey Head.


Half Term Happenings II

My Arnside Knott Habit


Kent Estuary and Eastern Fells.

A bright and sunny winter Saturday. The boys had already had their grappling fun, and I’d had a brief excursion around Lancaster whilst they were ‘rolling’ (that’s the official term apparently). I managed to persuade TBH to join me on what has become my regular weekend afternoon pilgrimage up the Knott.


Coniston Fells in the background with Cartmell Fell in the middle distance.

For once, I remembered not to leave it too late, so that we could enjoy the views of snowy Lakeland peaks whilst the light was still good.


TBH taking her own photos.


Arnside Knott pano (click on this or any other other photo to view a larger version on flickr)


Looking South. Warton Crag, Forest of Bowland, Silverdale, Far Arnside, Morecambe Bay.


Ingleborough zoom. The substantial landslip know as ‘The Falls’ shows well here. I explored the cliffs at the top of that feature last Spring.


Later, I was out again, on another oft repeated route via The Cove and The Lots. I wasn’t quite in time to catch the sunset, but the aftershow was pretty good.

Due to the lag between what appears here on the blog and reality, currently running at a little over a month, I know that the current slew of posts about the Knott is not about to come to an end any time soon. In fact, I’ve been heading that way increasingly often.

My current fixation with the Knott is not entirely without precedent. In the late nineties, when I lived in Arnside, there was a period when I aimed to climb the Knott every weekday after work. I was in training then too, preparing for a special holiday after an unexpected windfall.

In the summer, I shall be attempting to complete the annual 10 in 10 challenge. Briefly, the idea is to walk a route over 10 Wainwrights in 10 hours or less.  You can find out more here.

The event is a fundraiser and I’m hoping to get some sponsorship for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Just Giving page is here. All donations, however small, will be most welcome. I should add that the sponsorship is not a condition of my entry and that I’ve already paid a fee to enter which covers all costs, so all sponsor money would go directly to charity.

My Arnside Knott Habit

Dragons etc.


Casterton Beck. (Actually unnamed on the map, so I made up an appropriate seeming name). Anyway, another Lune tributary!

B’s rugby training was switched to the playing fields at Casterton School. I forgot this was happening – B had some harsh words to say about that – but after we had wandered around cluelessly at Underley Park for a while, I remembered. More cluelessness followed, driving around looking for which part of the school we needed, and B was eventually deposited with his team. Since I’d forgotten about the change of venue, I hadn’t thought to look at a map for a suitable perambulation to wile away my time whilst waiting.

I decided to follow my nose to see where that took me and set off along some minor lanes which brought me round a loop and back to the village. Then I followed a track (I now realise, not a right-of-way. Oh well, never mind.) which brought me to an unusual bridge over the beck seen above and to an actual footpath.


The Grange.

The path took me through some woods and then, after a right turn, to a rather spick and span looking Casterton Grange. No wonder it looks so neat and tidy: it’s currently up for sale, though I couldn’t find an asking price online; probably one of those cases where if you need to ask, then you can’t afford it! The house was built in 1848 for a vicar, David Barclay-Bevan. You might think a country vicar would struggle to afford such a palatial property, but he was independently wealthy, his father was a partner at Barclay’s Bank (source). The house was designed by Ewan Christian an ecclesiastical architect who restored Southwell Minster and Carlisle Cathedral and later went on to design the National Portrait Gallery.


I’m not sure what tempted this ladybird out: it was cold and wet.


Casterton Old Hall.

I think Casterton Old Hall is part of the school. This building dates back to seventeenth century. The Historic England listing makes me want to see the inside, especially the fireplace “with Tudor-arched opening, twisted wood, columns and overmantel with relief panels of busts, dragons, etc., probably of 1530-40 re-used”.

Later, I was out again for a short, local stroll in the fog.


In Eaves Wood.



Finally, this…


…was taken a few days later when, looking out of the staffroom window at work, I realised that the sky was clear and the sun setting and so dashed out for a few moments, climbing the hill to the castle to try to catch the sunset from there.

Since that photo makes this a ‘Sunset Post’ I feel fully justified in appending a song. A Song of the Weather in fact:

I heard this recently on 6 Music. Not quite the stereotypical 6 Music tune perhaps, but then, I’m not sure what is. I remember Flanders and Swann for ‘The Hippopotamus Song’ which along with ‘The Runaway Train’ and a couple of Bernard Cribbins songs, ‘My Brother’ by Terry Scott, Alan Sherman’s ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah’ and, no doubt, numerous others, which will occur to me too late, once I’ve clicked on ‘Publish’, was a regular part of my Saturday morning radio listening when I was a nipper.

Bloody January again, indeed! Except, I quite like January: the sunsets are getting later, there’s snow, but also snowdrops and spring is on the way.

Dragons etc.

Starling Pillowcase.










A couple of weekend walks from the same day in December. First a turn around Eaves Wood in some revitalising sunshine and then a late walk up to Heathwaite and then the Knott via the ‘new’ path I found from Far Arnside. Along the way I encountered a large flock of Starlings feeding noisily in amongst some calves. After the sun had set, I watched two large raptors soaring over the estuary against a backdrop of the last of the colour in the sky from the sunset.

How many songs do you know which mention Starlings? At the moment I can only think of one…

‘Starling Pillowcase and Why?’ by Leicester’s vastly under-appreciated Yeah Yeah Noh, an archetypal John Peel band if ever there was one and a real blast from my past.

‘I remember sun through the cloud…’

Starling Pillowcase.



It was an overcast Sunday afternoon almost at the end of November, it had been a busy weekend but now I was moping about the house, not tackling any of the work or chores which needed doing and not getting out for a walk either.


Fortunately, Little S and TBH were walking to the Wolfhouse to indulge in tea and cake and dragged me out too. We didn’t have to go too far before we were in the woods, ankle deep in fallen leaves and Little S initiated a leaf fight. It’s hard to be glum when you’re kicking piles of leaves into the air and I was soon perking up.

Leaving the other two to their culinary delights, I continued over Heald Brow and then dropped down to the salt-marsh, and hence to Jenny Brown’s Point as the sun disappeared across the Bay.


Four of these helicopters went past, flying very low. Is this an Apache? They seemed very incongruous in the quiet of a winter sunset.


I generally tack some music onto my short sunset posts and I wondered, given the helicopters and the rather apocalyptic sky, whether to use ‘The Ride of the Valkyrie’ or The Doors’ ‘This is the End’. Instead, I’ve gone for…

‘Helicopter’ by the massively underrated XTC, from their brilliant ‘Drums and Wires’ album. I’m fond of The Doors too and ‘The End’ might have been more in keeping with my sombre, November Blues mood, prior to the walk, but ‘Helicopters’ is more upbeat and will remind me of Little S’s ‘laughing giggly whirlybird’ leaf fight.


Remember, remember…


Grey Heron.

B had a match in Kirkby, but for once not at Underley Park and not playing for KLRUFC: he was playing for his school against Kirkby School, a team stuffed full of team-mates and friends from club rugby. I’d had to drop him in Lancaster to get the team mini-bus, but followed along behind so that I could watch the game. On route, I stopped briefly in Hornby for a short walk beside the River Wenning.


Wenning weir.


Hornby Castle.

I’ve always assumed that Hornby Castle was a Victorian fake, but apparently the castle has been here for a very long time, although it was extensively remodelled by Lancaster architects Sharpe and Paley in the nineteenth century. The castle has an interesting history, having been captured and occupied during the Civil War. William Parker, fourth Baron Monteagle, was born here according to some sources; the castle was certainly owned by his father. Parker was the peer who was warned about the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, which led to the discovery and thwarting of the scheme.


Hornby Bridge.


Grey Heron.

I wandered a little way along the river, photographing two herons who were both unusually placid about being closely watched.


Two more views of the Wenning.



Drinking fountain, Hornby.


This decoration was apparently removed from a railway bridge, the Rat and Cat Bridge. The strange symbol above the date is a design combining P and D, denoting Pudsey Dawson (great name!) High Sheriff of Lancashire and another former owner of the castle, in fact, the same one that commissioned the late nineteenth century alterations.


Later, I was out again, catching the sunset from Castlebarrow.

Remember, remember…